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Friends, in today’s Gospel, Jesus promises that divine aid will assist us in defense of persecution. From the earliest centuries into modern times, the Church, especially when it shows itself clearly, has been persecuted.

Do you know the principle that if someone brings bad news people will “kill the messenger”? In some ways, that’s why the Church is persecuted. We bear the message of a new world. And the old world never likes that message, which threatens it. Therefore, the instinct to kill the messenger kicks in. The Church will be persecuted as long as it speaks the words—the liberating words—of Jesus Christ.

So, what shall we do? How should we live during this period? Listen to the Lord: “When they take you before synagogues and before rulers and authorities, do not worry about how or what your defense will be . . . . For the Holy Spirit will teach you at that moment what you should say.” We have a simple job during the in-between times. We announce the Gospel with courage. Why? Because we’re speaking with the authority of the Lord. And the power of the old world cannot overcome us.